The early buzz on Suicide Squad is probably not what Warner Bros. was hoping for, with early reviews being less than positive. But one aspect getting decent marks is Margot Robbie’s turn as Harley Quinn, one of the most talked-about parts of the film leading up to its release thanks to the fan-favorite character making her theatrical live-action debut.
As one might expect with all the chatter surrounding the character and Robbie’s performance, questions for the individuals responsible for Harley’s initial creation were bound to be asked. As it turns out, Quinn’s creator has weighed in on the performance — and he seems to approve.
It’s been a long held truism that the most influential modern version of the Batman mythos since the 1990s hasn’t been any of the live-action films or even the original comics, but rather Batman: The Animated Series. The series, a starmaking turn for co-creator Paul Dini, rewrote the book on Western action cartoons and kickstarted Dini and Bruce Timm’s decades-long DC Animated Universe continuum. The series is often cited as the foundation for many Batman fans and an emerging generation of DC Comics writers. And nothing demonstrates that influence more than Harley Quinn — an original creation of Dini’s — has become a core part of the Batman and Joker “canon.”
Inspired by a turn as a harlequin by voice actress Arleen Sorkin on Days of Our Lives, Quinn was originally meant to be a one-off Joker henchwoman in a single episode but became arguably the breakout star of the entire series thanks to successive appearances and a winning character design. Margot Robbie’s interpretation of the character is a departure from some previous versions, and while Dini had not (as of these quotes) seen the completed film, he’s impressed by what he’s seen so far. Said Dini:
“Every clip that I’ve seen of Margot as Harley, she seems to have nailed it perfectly. When she’s introducing herself to Katana, when she’s walking around with the bat behind her shoulders, she just seems to have really channeled the true spirit of the character. Seeing that come alive is just amazing for me. I saw the shot yesterday of her and Joker in the therapy session getting ready to kiss, and I was just like, ‘That’s it, that’s my girl.’”
Time will tell whether audiences receive the film differently from either Dini or the critics, but whatever occurs, Harley Quinn’s creator wants everyone to know they’ll be seeing even more of her soon enough: A Harley/Batman animated movie was recently announced, and Dini himself will be incorporating her into the hotly anticipated Justice League Action series set to debut on Cartoon Network:
“I’ve done some new cartoons coming up with her in Justice League Action that’s coming up later this fall. I had a lot of fun working with her again, sometimes as a solo, sometimes pairing her up with Poison Ivy. I finished the last of those three weeks ago, and that was a lot of fun. So Harley’s still out there, still in animation, and everyone has a lot of fun when we get our hands on her.”
Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash and Batman solo movie are currently without release dates.